March 17, 2019 – West Bend, WI – A special evening Saturday night, March 16 as members of the American Legion Lt. Ray Dickop Post 36 gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the post.
Commander Bart Williams oversaw the ceremony which paid tribute to veterans past and present and recognized the history of Lt. Ray Dickop.
West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow was the keynote speaker.
“Leading, motivating and inspiring” were words Sadownikow focused on as he jumped into a short speech about veterans, the Tea Party, and the meaning behind the Don’t Tread on Me flag.
“The flag is actually called the Gadsen flag and named after General Christopher Gadsen of the Continental Marines during the Revolutionary War,” said Sadownikow.
The snake featured on the flag is described as “magnanimous.”
“It means to be gracious and noble in victory or defeat,” he said. “That is our service men and women, that is our Armed Services and that is the United States of America. That is all of you, gracious and noble in victory defeat.”
Quoting Ben Franklin, Sadownikow said the snake in the Gadsen flag followed three rules to live by, “Never, always, never.”
“Never looking for trouble, always giving warning and if a snake is tread on it never surrenders,” said Sadownikow. “It will fight to the death to protect its home, family, itself and presumable its snake friends. I’m looking right now at a bunch of red blooded, American rattlesnakes.”
Also recognized during the ceremony were two of the oldest veterans in the room. Joe Zadra, 96, who served in the U.S. Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and Allan Kieckhafer, 95, who joined the Navy when he was 18 and fought at Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guam and Okinawa.
Wrapping up the ceremony Williams and Sadownikow unveiled a plaque that would be a tribute to Lt. Ray Dickop. Below are details from the write up.
Ray C. Dickop was born on May 30, 1891, in Beloit, WI. His mother, Ada (1872-1913), and his father, John (1861-1904), predeceased him. Census records show that Ray Dickop lived with his mother at 7 Maple Ave, South Beloit, IL in 1912. Old maps show the location of his home at 7 Maple St. Maple was renamed to Dickop Street after his death to commemorate this great national hero of World War I. He also had a paternal aunt, Hilda Schiller, and cousin, Lena Schiller, who lived in West Bend, WI.
Dickop was 2nd Lieutenant in Company L, 1ST Wis. Infantry, Wisconsin National Guard, at Beloit, WI, when mobilized July 15, 1917. He was assigned to Co. L when the U.S. Army’s 127th Infantry was organized and rode to France aboard USS George Washington. He was promoted to First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army Company L, 127th Infantry Regiment, 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Division, American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.).
Lt. Dickop was killed in action (KIA) while serving with Company L, 127th Infantry Regiment in France during WWI. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. His award citation reads: